March may not be T.S. Eliot’s cruelest month, but for Windows and Office customers, it was a doozy.
While the February patches , you should be very cautious about how you patch this time around. And with the poised to strike in less than two weeks, now’s a very good time to make sure your Win10 Automatic Updates are defanged.
Here’s a recap of the and the state of their fixes:
- Microsoft’s Win10 cumulative updates, Win7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollups, and the cumulative Internet Explorer patch — six patches or more, depending on how you count — all broke Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 OnPremises, as well as various Telerik controls. Microsoft fixed the bugs with a released nine days later. In the interim, those of you with Dynamics CRM 2011 had to deal with bad reports or a byzantine series of patching instructions.
- The Excel 2010 security patch froze and crashed Excel 2010. Two weeks later, Microsoft fixed the botched patch with . Those caught by the first patch had no choice but to manually uninstall it, assuming they could figure out why Excel didn’t work.
- Word 2016’s Security Update KB 3178674 makes certain kinds of characters illegible. Microsoft .
- The Office Click-to-Run update 7870.2024, released to the Current Channel on March 14, broke , making it impossible to search for certain kinds of emails. Microsoft’s manual solution involved another byzantine series of steps. As best I can tell — the jury’s still out — the new Office C-t-R version 7870.2013, released on March 27, solves the problem, although it doesn’t undo the changes many people had to make to get search working again.
If you thought Microsoft’s worked out the problems with automatic updating, think again. Very nearly all versions of Windows and Office were hit with bad patches this month, and it took more than a week to solve most of the problems. Those stuck with automatic updating, or Win10’s proclivity to re-install everything in sight even after it’s uninstalled, was hit repeatedly.
As best I can tell, KB 3150513 is only useful for Windows users who want to upgrade immediately to the new Windows 10 Creators Update, which is due in a few weeks… I can’t imagine why anyone — aside from Microsoft employees and cloistered troglodytes — would install Creators Update on day one.
- There’s a MediaTek Android device driver patch, “Microsoft – WPD – 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM – 5.2.5326.4762,” that’s been and apparently works this time. I don’t see any reason to install the new driver on Win7 or 8.1 machines unless you plan on directly upgrading a Win7 or 8.1 machine to Win10.
With that as preamble, here’s what I recommend:
Follow my tip on . You may want to use wushowhide to hide any driver updates. If you have Word 2016 and use it for Equation Editor or MathType, avoid the KB 3178674 patch. All of the other updates should be OK, including Servicing stack updates, Office, MSRT, or .Net updates (there won’t be many, and you may not see any at all). Be sure to note the recommendation in that article for reporting any problems you might encounter.
Windows 7 and 8.1
You need to choose whether you want to install the security-only updates or to get all that Microsoft has to offer, including “telemetry” patches, by using the Monthly Rollup. If you’re in Group A (the Monthly Rollup group) updating’s easy. If you’re in Group B (those who don’t want Microsoft snooping) your life’s considerably more complex. I provide details in my article.
. Don’t check any unchecked boxes.
If you have no intention of updating this machine to Win10 in the near future, look for the “Microsoft – WPD – 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM – 5.2.5326.4762” () update and if you find it (you probably won’t), uncheck the box. If you have Word 2016 and you use it for Equation Editor or MathType, uncheck the KB 3178674 patch.
Step A3: Install the patches. Click the button marked Install Updates and follow the instructions. You’ll end up with the March Monthly Rollup, all of your Office patches, maybe some .Net patches, Adobe Flash fixes, the Microsoft Security Essentials update, and the usual MSRT scanner. After the reboot, everything will be set to block automatic updates. You’re ready, but be sure to watch this column next month to see when the unpaid beta testers are done.
For those in Group B:
Step B1. Get the Security-only patches. If you want security patches only, you have to reach out and grab them, then install them manually. That’s a nontrivial task. Since the Security-only patches are not cumulative, you need to make sure you have the October, November, and December 2016 Security-only patches installed. If you use Win7, there’s also a January 2017 Security-only patch. No Security-only patches were issued for either Win7 or 8.1 in February. There’s a big jumble of KB numbers and download links involved. AskWoody , maintained by PKCano, lists them all.
This month, for the first time, there are also patches (and a hotfix!) for Internet Explorer. If you use IE, you can look forward to yet another bunch of patches that require manual installation. AKB 2000003 lists them all.
Download any patches that you haven’t yet installed, double-click on the downloaded MSU file, and let the installer run its course.
Step B2: Get your settings right. In Win7, click Start > Control Panel. In Win 8.1, press Win-X and choose Control Panel. Click System and Security. Under Windows Update, click the link marked “Turn automatic updating on or off.” Make sure Windows Update is set to “Never check for updates (not recommended),” then check the box marked “Give me updates for Microsoft products and check for new optional Microsoft software when I update Windows.” Uncheck the box marked “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates” (yes, Group B is different from Group A), and click OK.
Step B3: Check for updates. Back in the Control Panel, under Windows Update, click the link to Check for Updates. (You may have to click Check for Updates a second time.) The check takes many minutes. If it takes many hours, .
Step B4: Get rid of the Monthly Rollup. Click the links to look at the Important and Optional updates. Don’t check any unchecked boxes. If you see any entries marked Monthly Quality Rollup, uncheck the boxes; if you’re in Group B, you don’t want them. For heaven’s sake don’t ever check anything marked Preview. If you see any “Security and Quality Rollup for .Net Framework” boxes checked, leave them checked.
Step B5: Get rid of problematic updates. If you have no intention of updating this machine to Win10 in the near future, look for the “Microsoft – WPD – 2/22/2016 12:00:00 AM – 5.2.5326.4762” () update and if you find it (you probably won’t), uncheck the box. If you have Word 2016 and you use it for Equation Editor or MathType, uncheck the KB 3178674 patch.
Step B5: Install the patches. Click the button marked Install Updates and follow the instructions. You’ll end up with Office patches, .Net patches, possible Adobe Flash fixes, Security Essentials update, and the usual MSRT scanner. After the reboot, you’re done. Pat yourself on the back, and watch this column next month for the all-clear.
Discussion continues on the .